Ask the Expert: Anticancer Lifestyle with Janet Solie, PA, MS, IHC
The environment is polluted with invisible offenders, ones we can’t see, smell or taste. In fact today’s environment has over 85,000 chemicals the majority of which have never been tested or regulated prior to their release. The EPA has identified many of these chemicals as carcinogenic, neurotoxic, reproductive toxic or endocrine interrupters.
As concerning, the growing incidence of cancer and neurological disease in the United States mirrors the aggressive use of chemicals in our environment. Prior to World War II, cancer was a disease of old age and neurological diseases like ADHD and autism were exceedingly rare. Not so today which has led environmentalists and public health experts to voice their concerns about the direct connection between these chemicals and cancer and neurological diseases.
As a cancer survivor, this environmental concern has my full attention and the logical place for me to start a clean up of these invisible offenders is in the kitchen. Why? Because a kitchen clean up offers the largest reduction of exposure to chemicals found in food and water. Here are five core strategies for an effective kitchen clean up:
- Find out what’s in your tap water. You can request online your water provider’s annual water report. In addition, look up the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) tap water database and search for a five-year history of your EPA tap water reports at http://www.ewg.org/tap-water/whats-in-yourwater.php. This EPA database provides detailed information about specific contaminant’s health risks, which your own water provider may not provide.
- Filter your tap water. Once you know what chemicals are in your water, you can determine what kind of water filtration you want to install. Choosing a filter system will depend on the types of contaminants present as well as your budget. EWG’s website is helpful with understanding various filter systems. By state law only registered water filter systems may be sold in California.
- Know the foods that contain the least amounts of harmful chemicals. In general, certified organic is the best and GMO produce is the worst. For those with prostate, breast, ovarian, testicular cancers contact with food that contains chemicals that are known hormone interrupters should be avoided. This would include most conventionally produced eggs, dairy, pork and beef. Eating mostly certified organic plant based food has the least chemical exposure for everyone.
- Identify the safest way to store and prepare your food chemical free. Plastic food containers have bisphenol or BPA, which is a known hormone interrupter. Microwaving with plastic containers drives the plastic chemicals into the food. Replace plastic storage containers with glass or ceramic. Replace nonstick pans with stainless steel or enamel or cast iron. If you can’t part with your nonstick pans, use only for low to medium heat and toss once pans are scratched.
- Avoid using kitchen-cleaning products with fragrances, triclosans, phthalates, formaldehyde.. Currently there are not any specific brands or uniform labeling that indicates which cleaning products are safe. Many companies are revamping their products in response to decreasing sales as many consumers are beginning to make their own safe cleaning products.
To learn more about Anticancer Lifestyle: Avoiding Cancer Causing Toxins in the Your Personal Environment, come to Janet Solie’s presentation on Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 6:30 pm. She will bring several tap water reports about local providers as well as demonstrate simple water testing.
Janet Solie is a physician assistant by training who has a master’s degree in clinical medicine. For many years, she worked in family medicine as a clinician and teacher. She is a Duke University trained integrative health coach who coaches private clients in the areas of anti-cancer and lifestyle medicine. She owns Health Coach Advantage.com and is a blogger, anti-cancer coach and breast cancer survivor.